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Ben Long is a father, conservationist and outdoorsman in Kalispell, Montana. His writing appears in Outdoor Life, Bugle and he is the founding editor of Backcountry Journal.
Wildlife Management (4)
Public Lands & Waters (1)
Policy & Legislation (1)
Grizzly Bear (1)
Endangered Species (1)
Can the Great Bear Survive Today’s Great Plains?
Aug 18, 2020
Encountering a grizzly bear has long been a potential happenstance on Montana’s mountain trails. But an expanding population of grizzlies in the Big Sky prairies have created a new kind of encounter, such as “the Bear in the Barn.”
This summer, 50-year-old farmer Shannun Rammell got word from a neighbor that grizzly bear tracks had been found near his farm east of Choteau, Montana. Rammell drove to a pond to investigate, and figured...
How to Predator-Proof Big Game Herds
Jul 24, 2020
Maybe you’ve been there: You’re hunting and haven’t seen a hoofprint all day. Then there are tracks tearing up the snow—but instead of deer or elk, they are wolf, bear, or mountain lion.
As predator populations have expanded across the West in recent decades, so has the debate about what to do about it. On one end, some frustrated folks want to call in the gunships, post bounties, or throw open the rule book against carnivores.
Bar Room Banter: The Bible’s Grizzly Bear Attack
Mar 9, 2020
There’s a difference between book smart and bar smart. You may not be book smart, but this series can make you seem educated and interesting from a barstool. So, belly up, pour yourself a glass of something good, and take notes as we look at the deadliest bear attack in written history.
The Good Lord works in mysterious ways, but one mystery caught my eye lately. When God wishes to smite sinners with a bear attack, what sort of bear will he...
Study: Eastern Whitetails Thrive Despite Coyote Invasion
Feb 5, 2020
The howl of a coyote has spread across the Eastern United States, stirring concern and debate among deer hunters and wildlife managers. But according to a new multi-state, decades-long study, whitetail deer have continued to thrive even as coyote populations boomed.
Hunters are often leery of change—especially regarding a new predator they perceive as competition. Of course coyotes eat deer meat given the opportunity, either deer they kill...
Breach It and They Will Come
Jun 14, 2019
An idea once considered radical—removing dams on rivers to restore fisheries—is becoming mainstream as scores of conservation efforts are paying off with restored river habitats and rejuvenated fisheries across North America.
In 1981, when the environmental group Earth First! wanted a publicity stunt to show how radical they were, they unfurled a giant black “crack” on the face of Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam. Times have changed. Recently, a...
Tribal Conservation: Recognizing the Contributions of Native Communities
Apr 30, 2019
The recent row over the Herrera v. Wyoming Supreme Court case tends to pit tribal and non-tribal outdoorsmen against each other. This rift can be polarizing, and it dates all the way back to the first contact between Europeans and the native residents of North America.
But lost in the dust of history are the important—and often successful—tribal efforts to restore North American wildlife that continue today. Conservation led by indigenous people...
The Dogs That Track Trout for Conservation
Apr 22, 2019
If you’re like me, you’ve been awed time and again by the nose of a good dog. Flushing pheasants out of cattails. Trailing lions in the snow. And now, identifying the species of fish in a trout stream.
That last one is science, not science fiction.
To help conserve native trout, the scientists at Working Dogs for Conservation have proven that dogs can differentiate species of fish, by scent, while the fish are swimming in their habitat.
Public Lands & Waters
Why the Department of Interior Matters to Sportsmen
Jan 10, 2019
If your social media feed is like mine, you’ve seen a flurry of both outrage and relief about the ouster of Ryan Zinke, who served just short of two years as President Trump’s secretary of the interior.
It is fair to ask: So what? Why should hunters and anglers care about the Secretary of the interior?
The Secretary of the interior is one of the lowest-profile of the presidential panel of personal advisors called the Cabinet. Secretary of defense...
Sage Grouse: Hunters Have Skin in the Game
Jan 8, 2019
You may never swing a shotgun after a sage grouse, the largest North American grouse, but you still have skin in the game in the fight for their future.
That is because sage grouse represent something much larger than the upland birds themselves: the public lands and sagebrush steppe habitat critical to Western hunting and wildlife.
I first saw sage grouse when I was about 13, sitting in a ground blind waiting for pronghorn to step into bow range...